Alumni ‘band’ together for on-field reunion

Theresa Edwards

A Kent State alumnus performs during the Homecoming halftime show. The Kent State Marching Golden Flashes alumni were invited back to perform. KATIE ROUPE | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Jason Hall

Each year, marching band alumni return to Kent State to stay involved with the band and to meet its new members.

Lisa Dael, 1990 graduate and marching band alumni chapter officer, worked to reunite the band for homecoming this year.

She has returned to Kent almost every year since she graduated and enjoys returning so she can see old friends and renew her friendships.

“It’s nice to think about what it was like in college,” she said. “It’s a really good time to get to know current members and catch up on old times.”

Alexa McCleaster, senior music education major and a field commander for the band, said the two field commanders usually help with odd jobs such as preparing the music and helping at rehearsals to get the alumni ready to march with them.

And she enjoys having the alumni back to join them on the field.

“I love it because I know that when I am an alum, I’ll miss it,” McCleaster said.

Nancy Baxter, 1964 graduate, said she enjoys returning to march with the band because she can be back on campus.

“There’s nothing like the energy of a college football game,” she said.

She likes learning how the band is changing and the homecoming game is a time she’s able to do that.

“It’s a little bit scary because they do things differently,” she said. “But it’s also a challenge to learn a new thing.”

Dael said the alumni have been marching homecoming games for 20 to 25 years, but it hasn’t happened every year.

“The band was eliminated due to budget cuts,” she said. “A year or two later, they were able to come back.”

A fund has been established to support uniforms and scholarships so the university has been able to keep the program.

Scott Curfman, band director for the Marching Golden Flashes, works with the band alumni chapter to get the alumni back on campus.

“Without the volunteer alumni board and without the alumni association, it wouldn’t have happened,” he said.

Michael Lee, band director from 1981 to 1995 and assistant professor in music education, was a guest conductor homecoming weekend. He said the alumni chapter asked him to do it because many of the returning members are from the ’80s and ’90s.

“It brings back old memories – memories of old shows and trips,” he said.

Contact alumni affairs reporter Theresa Edwards at [email protected].